Press release: SAVE launches petition against Paddington Cube and calls on Secretary of State to halt the highly controversial plans

14 December 2016

Press release: SAVE launches petition against Paddington Cube and calls on Secretary of State to halt the highly controversial plans

SAVE Britain’s Heritage has written to Secretary of State Sajid Javid urging him to halt the highly controversial 'Paddington Cube' plans and to review the decision to grant permission via an independent public inquiry.

Click here to sign the petition to Secretary of State Sajid Javid against the Paddington Cube.

On 6 December Westminster City Council’s Planning Committee approved plans to demolish the locally listed, Edwardian former Royal Mail sorting office in the Bayswater Conservation Area, for replacement with a 19 storey (54m) square office tower.

This decision was made in spite of unanimous acknowledgment of the harm to the Conservation Area caused by the plans, and the strong objections from SAVE, Historic England, The Victorian Society, local residents, and many others which were ignored.

Further concerns were raised by the London Ambulance Service and St Mary’s Hospital Paddington, a major trauma unit, due to the proposal’s impact on blue light emergency access routes for ambulances. 

SAVE considers that the massive scale of the proposed square office tower would be a blot on the capital, substantially imposing itself over its immediate neighbours and entirely alien to its surroundings - a Conservation Area defined by handsome stucco terraces and Georgian and Victorian buildings of up to six storeys. Conservation Area status should offer protection against such harmful development. This proposal sets a dangerous precedent, and sends out the message that Westminster is abandoning once exemplary conservation and design policies.

The former Royal Mail sorting office, built in 1907, has a major presence beside Brunel's great Grade I listed station, with handsome Edwardian Baroque detailing, and makes a positive contribution to the Conservation Area. Demolition would cause substantial harm to the Bayswater Conservation Area and the setting of surrounding listed buildings.

SAVE also has serious concerns that at the planning committee meeting, Chairman Councillor Robert Davis appeared to present the scheme in a partisan one-sided manner to the other three committee members, disregarding significant objections. Cllr Davis has previously spoken publicly in the media about his support for the scheme, and SAVE believes this shows he had predetermined his position and should not have taken part in deciding this application. SAVE received legal advice to this effect.

Approval of this application ignores local and national planning policies and brushes aside substantial heritage objections, and significant architectural and urban design issues. Additionally, the conduct of Cllr Davis and the handling of the application is also of concern, and SAVE therefore believes a call in is necessary and justified.

Henrietta Billings, Director of SAVE said: “Conservation Areas are all about celebrating and protecting special and recognised townscapes with important buildings and history. The Paddington Cube throws the whole question of this protection into disarray - what is the use of Conservation Areas if mega blocks like this, next to grade I listed buildings, can be nodded through planning committees?”

Marcus Binney, Executive President of SAVE said: “Westminster's decision to approve this scheme opens a way to a massive assault on the Borough's Conservation Areas which are one of the glories of the capital and admired by visitors from all over the world.  Harmonious scale is an essential element of the beauty of Conservation Areas such as this and it is vital that the decision is taken out of Westminster's hands and rejected for the horror it is.”

To support the request for a call in please sign and share the petition here.

Letters to the Secretary of State requesting a call in should be sent to:

The Rt Hon. Sajid Javid MP
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
2 Marsham Street 

And emailed to

Note to editors:

1. For more information please contact SAVE on 0207 253 3500 or

2. The application proposes to demolish a locally listed building within the Bayswater Conservation Area, for replacement with a 14 storey (19 storey including atrium and plant) office building. For more information about the proposal please see SAVE’s previous press release here.

3. SAVE Britain’s Heritage has been campaigning for historic buildings since its formation in 1975 by a group of architectural historians, writers, journalists and planners. It is a strong, independent voice in conservation, free to respond rapidly to emergencies and to speak out loud for the historic built environment.

Press release issued by SAVE Britain’s Heritage

70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ

Registered Charity 269129

Tel. 020 7253 3500  


Follow SAVE on Twitter: @SAVEBrit

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